The Extra Burden for Parents of Children With Special Needs

By Mark Bertin, M.D. for The New York Times

As a developmental pediatrician, I have worked throughout this coronavirus crisis with parents strained by fears about their child’s learning, stresses around anxiety and behavior, and the disruption of school services.

For parents of children with special needs, who often carry an extra heavy load managing academics in the best of times, the burden while on home quarantine is magnified.

Many educational services — such as a full-day program for a child with severe autism — are simply impossible to implement effectively online, and not all parents have time to monitor educational interventions. And the reality is that most parents are neither teachers nor therapists. Stay strong in planning for your family’s well-being, but don’t create more stress in your home by taking on more than is realistic.

Parents may fear that with schools closed, their children’s progress will stall or reverse. But as always with children, long-term growth relies on a well-monitored three- or five-year plan, not every week or month along the way. Schools will open again at some point, and appropriate services will resume and methodically address whatever ground has been lost. It’s far from ideal, but it is our reality right now.

Read more here.